chris ware

Sushi Infographic

I love sushi. But that is only part of the reason I enjoy Sung Hwan Jang’s wonderful sushi infographic. The graphic’s eye pleasing and cartoonish simplcity hit me right in the Chris Ware. Sung has put together all kinds of fun graphical posters detailing everything from pizza to constellations to camping to the Bauhaus art movement.

Sushi Infographic

I’d love to get this poster for my kitchen but I’m unsure how to purchase it from the Korean websites.

A Modern Day Literary Canon

Yesterday I posted about an article in the Guardian in which author Rick Gekoski expressed grief in the lack of a modern-day literary canon. He said:

Not that young people don’t read, but they don’t read together. They haven’t got, as we had, a common culture: books to devour and discuss and be formed by… I wish that the pleasure of reading, across the whole spectrum of literature, in all its variety, were part of a shared culture amongst young people today. But it isn’t…

I stated that I thought author Rick Gekoski was mistaken. I believe that today we do actually have a modern literary canon that we draw on for conversation, inspiration, education and culture. So I used Gekoski’s “rules” to create my canon: 1) A list of 21 books 2) All published within the last 21 years 3) cross the whole spectrum of literature 4) Are part of a shared culture amongst young people today. Here is my list:

A prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving (1989)
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (1989)
Maus by Art Spiegelman (1991)
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray (1992)
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (1993)
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (1996)
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (1996)
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (1997 – 2007)
Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution by Robert C. Atkins (1997)
God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (1998)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (2000)
Life Of Pi by Yann Martel (2001)
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser (2001)
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (2002)
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (2003)
Freakonomics Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (2005)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (2005)
The Secret by Rhonda Byrn (2006)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell (2008)

These books could have made the list but were just a little too old (all less than 5 years too old)
Skinny Legs And All by Tom Robbins (1984)
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)
White Noise by Don Delillo (1985)
Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)
A Brief History Of Time by Stephen Hawking (1988)
Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco (1988)

So What do you think? What are the books that I’m missing? Which don’t belong? Am I right, do we have a modern literary canon in this day and age? Or does Rick Gekoski have it right, do we not read together anymore?

Below is a list of books that I short listed but that didn’t quite make the 21 book cut.

Quimby The Mouse

A couple of weeks ago (April 23rd) my girlfriend and I went to see the live broadcast of This American Life at the United Artists Denver Pavilions. I’m a huge fan of This American Life but this show was a failure. Mostly the theater was a failure.

First off tickets prices were $20. Way too steep for anything on a movie screen. Technical difficulties abound and the entire audience missed the entire first segment of the show. Since it was a live telecast there was nothing the theater could do. Every paying customer was given a free movie voucher at the end of the show, but with a value of about $7 this was only a third of the actual ticket price paid.

What we did see was great though. And if you missed it you can download the episode online or go see the encore event on May 7th. Unfortunately I would recommend against spending your hard earned dough in this way, donate it to your local public radio instead.

One of the highlights of the live episode was this video called “Quimby The Mouse” put together by Chris Ware (with music by Andrew Bird, Animation by John Kuramoto).

Chris Ware just makes you want to kill yourself. The more you hurt from his art the better he feels – and that’s what I like about him.

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